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More Henkel Corporate Reporting 2015
Our company first published an Environment Report in 1992. It reviewed our achievements, product improvements, and the progress made in the area of environmental protection at our production sites. Henkel subsequently began preparing an annual report on the company’s major sustainability activities.
In 2015, we collected data on 170 sites, representing 100 percent of our global production volume. To assess our footprint along the entire value chain, we use representative life cycle analyses that cover around 70 percent of our sales across all product categories. We also assess data on the raw ingredients and packaging materials we use and the transport operations. We are currently using the knowledge we have gained to further improve our assessment and measurement systems to allow us to make an integrated assessment of our progress toward our 20-year goal for 2030 across the entire company and our value chain.
In 2015, our work was mainly concentrated on improving the data basis for the raw ingredients and packaging materials we use; updating the emissions factors for the energy usage figures for our sites worldwide; and further developing our computing models for logistics emissions.
Led by our Sustainability Council, we set up working groups to evaluate trends, developments and the expectations of our stakeholders and to analyze our footprint along the value chain. The next step was to identify the key areas where we can create more value for our customers and consumers, for the communities we operate in, and for our company – at a reduced ecological footprint. On this basis, we then defined our priorities for 2020 in order to contribute to our long-term goal of “Factor 3” and drive sustainability along our value chain.
The Henkel focal areas have been systematically anchored into our innovation process since 2008. This means that, at a given point, our researchers must demonstrate the specific advantages of their project in regard to product performance, added value for customers and consumers, and social criteria (“more value”). They also have to show how it contributes to using less resources (“reduced footprint”). One of the tools they use to assess the different contributions is the Henkel Sustainability#Master®.
Henkel works with various measurement methods to optimize the “Value” and “Footprint” dimensions. These allow the actions to be identified that have the greatest effect on sustainability along the value chain. Considering our portfolio as a whole, it is evident that improvements in the raw materials and the use phase have a significant impact on the water and carbon footprint.
The various instruments are summarized in the Henkel Sustainability#Master®. Its core element is a matrix that can be used to assess changes in both the “Value” and the “Footprint” dimensions. We use the results to develop innovations with improved sustainability performance. Only by considering the entire life cycle can we ensure that the action taken will improve the overall sustainability profile of our products.
In line with our ambition that each new product must make a contribution to sustainability, we assess our products systematically throughout our innovation process. To make it easier to optimize our products while they are being developed, we integrate the environmental profiles of possible raw ingredients and packaging materials into the information systems of our product and packaging development departments. This allows the footprint of a new formulation to be computed as early as the development phase.
The Henkel Sustainability#Master® combines various instruments for measuring sustainability. This evaluation system centers around a matrix based on the individual steps of the value chain and on our six focal areas. The goal is to increase the value of the product and simultaneously reduce its environmental footprint. Hot spots can be identified for every product category on the basis of scientific measurement methods. These are the fields with the greatest relevance for sustainability – this applies to both the “Value” and the “Footprint” dimension. The specified hot spots can also be used to compare the sustainability profile of two products or processes. This allows sustainability profiles to be prepared for each product category. Henkel’s researchers use these findings for innovation and continuous product improvements.
With the help of life cycle analyses and the knowledge they have acquired during many years of work on sustainability, our experts analyze the complete life cycle of our products. As early as the product development phase we can assess what environmental impacts occur, to what extent, and in which phase of a product’s life. Improvement measures can then be applied where they are most needed and can be most efficiently implemented.
In preparing life cycle analyses, we use our own primary data as well as data from our partners along the supply chain. If such data is not available, we draw on secondary data from existing databases on life cycle analyses, average values and emission factors. To further develop metrics and indicators, we collaborate with external partners on topics such as product carbon footprints and water footprints. We also participate in international initiatives such as “The Sustainability Consortium” and the Consumer Goods Forum’s Measurement Group.
A review of the life cycle analyses of our various product categories shows that the impacts on the environment often occur at very different points during the lifetime of a product. Suitable improvements can therefore often take widely differing forms. For example, the life cycle analyses of a laundry or dishwashing detergent show that energy consumption and hence the associated carbon dioxide emissions are highest during use in the washing machine or dishwasher. In such cases, we focus on developing products that can be used in a manner that saves energy and water. Other product categories call for an increase in the resource-efficiency of our own processes. Additional approaches for improving the environmental profiles of our products include the use, wherever appropriate, of renewable raw materials, improving the level of biodegradability, and reducing and enhancing packaging materials.
In order to measure the contribution of products to climate protection, experiments are being carried out worldwide to measure product carbon footprints. Unlike complete life cycle analyses, this involves determining only the climate-relevant greenhouse gas emissions throughout the value chain of a product – from the purchase of the raw materials through production and use to disposal. However, until now there has been no internationally harmonized method for determining the carbon footprint of a product. Henkel therefore participates in pilot projects in Germany and the USA with a view to driving forward the development of a reliable and internationally harmonized method of determining carbon footprints. Since the beginning of 2011, we have also been involved in a project run by the EU Commission to establish standardized methods for calculating the ecological footprint of organizations and products. A case study on Somat 10 was selected for the “Products” category. PCF-Projekt
A key area of our research in cooperation with the Arizona State University in Phoenix, Arizona (USA), is the environmental impact of laundry washing, taking into consideration the special conditions in American households. The scientific findings reveal how consumers can contribute to conserving resources through the use of efficient washing machines, tumble dryers and laundry detergents, as well as by changing their laundry washing habits.
As a partner in the German Product Carbon Footprint project, we calculated the carbon footprint of various Henkel products. We then contributed the experience gained during the project as input in a working group of the DIN standards organization with a view to developing an international ISO standard (ISO 14067).
The Earth’s water resources are unequally distributed and are threatened by increasing pollution and overuse. For us, therefore, reducing water consumption during the production and use of our products is an important aim. In order to identify suitable approaches for achieving improvements, we participate in efforts to develop methods for water footprinting. In 2010, for example, we worked together with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich, to study the consequences of the water demand for laundry detergent production at our sites in the Middle East and North Africa. At the heart of this was a consideration of the different amounts of water required for the production of powder and liquid laundry detergents, taking into account regional factors such as water availability, scarcity and quality. We feed the experience we gain from such pilot projects into the discussion on the development of an international ISO standard (ISO 14046) on water footprints.